The Concept of Commodification

More musings from the Story of Stuff book:

Because we spend so much of our time chasing after money, to buy stuff that we don’t need, that promises us the world but delivers none of it – our communities are suffering. We spend so much time on the above, that we’re not available to be present and useful amongst our local community. This feeds our discontent and unhappiness because people in our local community could meet our need for relationship. We can have our emotional needs met by having a chat with a neighbour. We can have logistical needs met, by a neighbour bringing us a meal, babysitting, dog-walking, offering a lift or taking in our mail whilst we’re away.

Ironically, all of these things have now been commodified in our consumerist society and are available to buy from strangers, at a price! Probably most people don’t even know their neighbours these days, since all they do is go to work early and arrive home late. They are too busy, too stressed, time-poor and over-scheduled. No wonder we have increasing amounts of isolated elderly, or even depressed and overweight adults and children in our society. And the solution is really so simple!

If you’re a systems thinker, than you might liken this phenomenon to a negative feedback loop. A problem or problems, that cause an effect that only serves to add to the original problem. We now have to work harder, to pay for the kinds of service that friends and neighbours used to provide for free. This only serves to add to our stress levels and lack of time. So you can see how the downward spiral continues!

Enough is Enough! Why I Refuse to Complete Anymore ‘Customer Satisfaction’ Surveys.

I’m done! I’ve reached breaking point with the sheer volume of customer satisfaction surveys I am asked to complete every single day. I resent companies who phone me chasing completion of a survey because their bonus relies on achieving 5 stars. I fail to see how they can glean any meaningful information from those that are completed when they frequently bully you into giving the top ratings.

Enough is enough! I had my car serviced and they’re desperate for me to complete a customer satisfaction survey. Not happening. I am always¬†going to get my car serviced and MOT’d on an annual basis. The other day I had my eyes tested and now they want me to complete one too. I had my eyes tested for the sake of my health, for goodness sake! A statutory service that the NHS provides in this country and that I would have done at the prescribed interval, regardless. Every single time you visit a shop, they are there circling some on-line feedback survey for you to complete. Sometimes they go into a massive spiel lasting several minutes about why you need to complete it. Just let me pay for my items and leave!

Let’s be minimalist about this please, all your stores out there reading this. Let’s save everyone some time and spend our lives doing better things, than measuring our employees on every single transaction they complete. You don’t have to give me the 5 star, red carpet service all the time. I’d appreciate if you spent more time servicing my car to a satisfactory level and all I’m asking is that it’s good enough. I want you to check my eyes to the best of your ability. I’m not going to rate you on your personal hygiene, your dress, your comprehension of English or whether you said goodbye. Just make sure to tell me if anything is wrong with my eyes, or I need new glasses. I’m not looking for perfection and I’d definitely prefer it if your employees seemed genuine, rather than that they are reading from a prescribed script.

I for one, do not wish to be responsible for someone being reprimanded or losing their job over 1 customer experience! If your service is unsatisfactory – rest assured it’s likely I will let you know. If I love something you’re doing, I will probably write and tell you too. But it’s OK to just live day-to-day by doing a good enough job. Let’s save the wowing for special occasions like weddings, Birthdays and times when it’s really important that things go right. I’d rather all those lovely, hard working people out there weren’t stressed to the eyeballs every day about being ‘inspected’. Just let them do their jobs, please! And please, please, PLEASE don’t send me anymore of these ‘customer satisfaction’ surveys – P L E A S E!!! You’re actually making me less likely to shop with you and seek out those dear, independent’s out there who are more concerned with actually getting on with their job. And every bit of till receipt you don’t print with these pointless surveys on it, is another piece of tree remaining and you know what – that would make me the happiest of all!